Sharon to meet with settlers

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has invited leaders of the settler movement, who are fiercely opposed to his Gaza pullout plan, to a meeting on Sunday, his office said.

    Sharon (R) is seeking support for his Gaza pull-out plan

    "The meeting is being held on the initiative of Mr Sharon at the prime minister's office in Jerusalem," a spokesman said. 

    Representatives from the main settlers council, Yesha, are expected to meet with the man they once regarded their ultimate champion before he unveiled his so-called disengagement plan.

    Under the terms of the project, all 8000 settlers currently living in the occupied Gaza Strip, and four isolated Jewish illegal enclaves in the northern West Bank, will be evacuated. 

    Strengthen control

    In turn, Sharon is hoping that such a unilateral measure will
    enable him to strengthen Israeli control over larger West Bank
    settlement blocs where the majority of settlers live.

    Settlements are considered illegal in international law.

    Settlers and their supporters have held several protests
    against the disengagement plan in recent weeks, although a series of demonstrations at 100 different venues on Thursday attracted only a fraction of the tens of thousands that organisers had hoped would attend.

    Sharon is still looking to find a parliamentary majority for his plan when he presents it to MPs on 25 October. He lost his majority in June when previous allies were either sacked or resigned in protest at what settlers described as the "forcible transfer of Jews".

    SOURCE: AFP


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